It is the weekend again; and this means allotting time for studies. For the entire week, I haven’t been able to sit myself down for a good, solid session of studying. Looking at the approaching weekends with the relish of spending hours with books might sound strange to some people; to me, however, swotting up on literary terms, or assimilating a critic’s work is an ideal way of enjoying my free time.
Balancing work and studies could never be an easy task. Besides feeling dead beat at the end of a working day, the realisation that I haven’t read a word always weighs me down more. Although I have tried to squeeze some reading time in during the day, such as when I am traveling to and from work, or when I am having my lunch break, it is still insufficient to study productively.
Therefore, my weekends are really precious. Just like how a working mother would look forward to the end of the week as a time for her children, I always anticipate with pleasure the joy of spending my Saturdays and Sundays with my books. But no matter how many weekends I have, I don’t seem to have enough time to complete reading everything on my list. It is precisely at such acute moments of frustration that I pleasantly discovered how I could make full use of the UOL’s subject guides.
To self-study for a degree course without the guidance of an institute might look like sailing into uncharted waters. The subject guides (issued for each course), to continue with the metaphor, steered me through the toughest moments in my first year: the 22-week study plan enabled me to organise, gauge my progress, and to studiously remain on track.
The guides’ Recommended Further Reading always gives me a focus, saving valuable time that I may spend researching in the library and on the net. Settling on the texts that I want, I search them on Amazon.com, which allows us to see the contents page as well as the first chapters of most books. This assists me in a way to know if a book that I am looking for has the topics that I need.
One of the skills an English Literature student has to have is writing a good essay. However, to start writing a full essay without first developing adequate understanding of a text and topic could be very frustrating. The skills of essay writing could be developed gradually by first attempting the ‘activity’ sections that are often found in the guides. Besides helping me to sharpen my writing skills, the short questions in the guides aid me to better remember what I have studied.
With the guides I have better organised my studying. As a student who often finds herself strained for time, the guides have helped to set things in place. They put me in the right track quite like the way a compass directs an explorer to a location.
Tiffany is studying the BA English in Singapore.